What happens when anxiety takes over and coping mechanisms take a back seat to panic?
Well, since I share all other in this space, I figured I would share the answer to this burning question with y’all as well.
Let me set the scene for you.
It is the last day of your children’s winter break. You are home with them and also realize that you need the hours of pay. You emphatically volunteer to work from home in order to accomodate both child care and paycheck.
You go downstairs to your computer where you have remote access to your work station. Only to find it is sans keyboard. You know that these things don’t just disappear so you begin to question your children as to who took it and where they put it.
They of course insist that no one took it and it is no where other than where it is supposed to be: on the computer desk in question.
You then begin to stomp around while ripping apart your house and repeatedly remind your kids that this is why they are not to touch your stuff. The children counter attack with an the infuriating response of:
“We don’t touch your stuff.”
You search for a good screaming 90 minutes only to draw the inevitable conclusion that it did, in fact, vanish into thin air.
You then decide that you will make the dreaded 30 minute trek to your local Walmart to purchase a new keyboard.
You get all the children dressed and in the car, arrive to Walmart, reach for your purse, only to realize it isn’t there. You then drop a few choice words and make the journey back home.
You collect your purse but not your wits.
You drive back to Walmart. You decide to bribe your children with the promise of ice cream as long as they stay focused and stay close.
You grab the cheapest keyboard you can find; which happens to be wireless.
You also relapse into your anxiety filled impulse decision making mode and decide that you need something.
Your mind races and you contemplate what will provide you with that instant gratification.
Your thinking trail journeys along and reminds you that you are feeling stressed that you are missing hours of work and that you also have a salon appointment coming up this week. At this appointment you had planned to cover your grays and chop the weight from your face. But, now you cannot afford both services. You still, however, insist that you need to cover the undesirable wire-y white hairs.
So you drag your kids through the beauty aisles looking for boxed hair dye. You settle on a $6 bottle of black hair dye because your hair should match your mood and instantly decide that you have made the perfect choice because you are actually saving money.
You then take the children (as promised) to the frozen food aisle where they have options upon options of ice cream.
Today your children have decided they do not like the same flavors.
You briefly try to assert your dominance and declare that they get one container.
You are obviously out numbered in more ways than one. Your mind is filled to capacity with seemingly unprompted panic, your local Walmart is filled to the brim with people even though it is the middle of a supposed work day, and your cart is full of determined, or rather stubborn, kids.
You then do some quick math and decide that since the ice cream is only $1.97 per container and that going to Dairy Queen would likely cost more, it is easier to pay an additional $6 for everyone to get their preferred flavor.
You figure that this will actually benefit you when you need comfort food later.
You then begin down the rabbit hole of realizing that today was the day you put your new budget into place and subsequently have lost work hours and spent unbudgeted dollars on goth hair dye and a freezer full of ice cream.
Although, remember you are really saving on the hair dye.
It then dawns on you that your chest is getting as tight as a freshly dried pair of blue jeans. You feel a headache coming on, your arms start to feel like jelly, and you feel the all too familiar nervousness rising in your throat.
You decide that adding caffeine to your morning coffee was likely a mistake.
You then wonder if this panic is because of the fact that you have had to ration out your medication for the last several weeks because you don’t have an appointment with the psychiatrist for another week and you keep forgetting to call and ask for a refill. Because life is busy and when you finally remember it is no longer office hours.
You then become frustrated with yourself for not prioritizing your medications which are crucial in balancing you.
You stop your spiraling thoughts long enough to scan the check out lanes for the shortest line. Of course the shortest lane is also the lane where you do all the work. And where you have to fend off kids from grabbing impulse purchases from the stands and scanning them while you bag items.
You complete self check out intact, get the kids in the car, and head home.
You tell them to have ice cream for lunch because at this point, you are too fatigued to care how much of it they eat.
They figure it’s a “last day before school starts again” treat.
You are grateful they don’t appear to sense your spiral.
You go back to your basement, set up the keyboard, only to find it is missing the crucial USB connecter thinga-majigger.
You think maybe its an optional piece of equipment and that’s why its missing.
You go ahead and take out your frustration on the keyboard pounding in the keys as you use your telephathic powers to make letters appear on the screen.
Obviously, it doesn’t work.
You then curse the asshole who decided to return a keyboard and left out the crucial USB connector thingy and remind yourself this is why you hate Walmart.
You once again use your mystical powers of karma to curse his or her day.
You then admit defeat and let your coworkers know you are tapping out for the day.
Your spiraling thoughts and exaggerated worries tell you that you cannot forget to call for that refill again today.
So you make the call and wait to hear if they will provide you with a one week supply until your next appointment.
SPOILER ALERT: they do.
You then decide to take a literal chill pill, move on with the hair dye, take your proper dose of medication, and hope your threshold for handling life’s curve-balls gets bigger.
And that’s what happens when anxiety leads.